Modern parents tend to be very aware of the words they use. They know their kids will learn from them, and they do not want the little ones learning bad words. Some parents go so far as to avoid all negative words – even those society does not necessarily consider bad. That may be a mistake. Take the word ‘no’, for example. It is one of the most powerful words in a parent’s vocabulary.
The word itself denotes something very specific. Depending on how it is used, it can mean a denial of something you want to do. It could mean that you do not get permission. It could mean that you don’t have any money, your car isn’t running, or you didn’t get that job you were after. The word can be broadly applied to an endless number of situations, yet always with the same intent.
Where parents are concerned, saying no is a particularly important tool for training children how to live in an orderly society. Unfortunately, using the word too often and in the wrong way can lead to unintended and negative consequences. It is all in how a parent uses the word and the reason behind it.
● Children Lack Knowledge and Experience
One of the chief reasons for telling children no is the fact that they lack knowledge and experience. As a parent, you want your child to grow up and exercise wisdom. But that is impossible without knowledge and experience. Telling your children, no from time to time teaches them what is appropriate and what is not. It teaches them self-control. It gives them some of the knowledge and experience they need to be wise adults.
Also consider that a child’s lack of knowledge and experience can actually be harmful to them. As a parent, you sometimes say no because you are fully aware of the potential harm of saying yes. You help your child learn to control themself by taking the lead early on.
● Many Reasons to Say No
Often times, parents who seek out adolescent counseling have struggled to say no to their kids. Failing to be that check against a child’s naturally selfish desires leads to antisocial behavior. The good news, according to the therapy staff at Westchester, NY’s Relationships & More, is that most families can be helped with therapy.
In the meantime, Relationships & More counselors say there are many reasons to tell a child no:
- Harming Others – Parents should say no when the actions of their children could potentially harm others.
- Circumstances Change – Children need to learn that life is not perfect; that circumstances change. Parents can teach them that by saying no when things do not go as planned.
- Teaching Self-Reliance – Saying no is appropriate as a tool for teaching children self-reliance. If there is something they can do for themselves, parents should let them. They should say no to any request that mom or dad do for the kids what they can do for themselves.
- Wants vs. Needs – Sometimes saying no is the best way to teach a child the difference between wants and needs. In our modern, consumer-driven world, we could use a little more ‘no’ in this regard.
‘No’ is a powerful word in a parent’s vocabulary because it can be used to teach a child a myriad of lessons. Unfortunately, far too many parents who strive to choose their words carefully do not say no often enough. That is not good because it trains a child to behave in ways that will be problematic in adulthood.